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What's new in various product categories; monthly update.

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Decorative Painting Gets a Face Lift

New programs should give the category a boost.

by Shea Szachara (February, 2004)

HIA 2004…what a show! This was, without a doubt, the largest exhibition in this organization’s 63-year history. Each major category section alone had to be ten times larger than the entire first show that I attended in the early 70's. The massive variety of booths and products shown was awesome.

For me, without sectioning, the show would be mind-boggling. Although there was not enough time to visit with every company directly involved with decorative painting, I was fortunate enough to interview several of this category’s key influencers. Many have plans in place for this coming year to promote decorative painting by updating this art form in ways that will attract new consumers. They plan to do this through some outstanding educational programs and all are putting websites and use of the Internet high on their list of promotional venues. Many are also looking at the possibilities for decorative painting tie-ins with today’s popular memory-scrapbooking areas; there was one totally new company based on this idea alone.

Painting & Scrapbooking.

Showing for the first time, Scrapbooking Plus…the painted touch is a new company formed by four well-known, highly experienced business people in the decorative painting world: Gerry and Jerry Klein, Eas’l Publications; Gretchen Cagle, Gretchen Cagle Publications; Tim Mulvey, Houston Art; and Brenda Stewart, Brenda Stewart by Design. GDP4 Group is the name of this new business venture dedicated to an introductory learning-to-paint program for scrapbook retailers and their customers.

Jerry Klein said the goal is to make it as easy as possible for scrapbook retailers to incorporate decorative painting into their classes. The GDP4 Group has put together a complete line of brushes and paints (that work well on paper) with four new books focused on scrapbook pages. These appealing but easy-to-accomplish designs are shown on scrapbook pages, plus additional functional surfaces. They are designed not only to bring scrapbookers to decorative painting, but also to bring decorative painters to scrapbooking.

One interesting service: because of their extensive contacts with decorative painters, the GDP4 Group can provide teachers for retailers who add the program. For more, email sbkplus@aol.com.

Painting Contest.

Royal & Langnickel Brush Mfg. have plans in place to continue their highly successful Creative Student Art Contest. Last year the company received 1,000+ entries from students across the country ranging from kindergarten to senior high school. Susan Kelly, the program coordinator, described the categories for entry that are entitled "Beautiful Places," "My Hero," and "My Favorite Activity." Entries are broken down by grade level for judging with K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12 with each receiving entries from all categories. This year they will be adding a "Special Needs" level without grade level divisions.

Judging is done by the company’s Royal Ambassadors with prizes for 1st place ($250 + $250 in product); 2nd place ($100 +$100 in product); and 3rd place ($50 + $50 in product). The teachers who submit the winning entries for their students are given equal free product choice amounts. The program is advertised through the NAEA (National Art Education Assn.), its local chapters, and at the various school shows in which Royal participates.

In addition, Royal will continue its Royal Ambassador program in conjunction with various industry paint companies. Betsy Edwards, Director of Education, leads a team of 15 well-known decorative authors/teachers who travel across the country teaching seminars for affiliated chapters of The Society of Decorative Painters. They bring new techniques and product knowledge to the decorative painter. Learn more at www.royalbrush.com.


Kim Ballor, Director of Education for Plaid, revealed that a planned expansion of the highly successful One-Stroke classes will be launched Mar. 1, taking them into all of the Michaels stores. Currently there are more than 3,000 Certified Donna Dewberry One-Stroke Instructors (O.S.C.I.s) available throughout the U.S. and Canada. Through her numerous television appearances, Donna’s far-reaching popularity has brought interest in decorative painting into homes everywhere. Now these planned One-Stroke classes with qualified instructors will give new painters the opportunity to learn her techniques in nearby Michaels stores. Learn more at www.plaidonline.com or www.onestroke.com.

Learning Center.

Martin/F Weber Co. has a new Learning Center General Manager in Donna Campbell with a well thought out decorative painting program that will be launched this year. Susan Scheewe, internationally known teacher/author/publisher, will play an integral part of Weber’s Art Learning Center Program.

The program is designed to attract newcomers to decorative painting – and to give very strong sales support to independent retailers. Retailers who join the program will be given ample discounts and the opportunity to participate in three-day product education seminars called "Meet and Learn Gatherings." Plus, well-known Weber Art Travel Teachers will be available for classes.

Plans are in place for program retailers with a Weber Learning Center to feel connected to Weber and each other through the Internet. There will be direct referrals to these owners, a chat room for them, and available mailing lists for their use. Additional support will be given the retailers through promotional specials and print advertising from Weber that will appear in consumer publications. Contact Donna at donnaatweber@aol.com.

Improving the Web.

According to Shirley Miller, Director of Education and Public Relations for Loew-Cornell, plans to strengthen and update its current website learning programs. There will be more areas on the site showing product uses and techniques. The Spectrum newsletter, edit by Mary McCullah, with focus on teachers and their views will continue. The online "Question of the Month" feature, which goes out to a large email list of teachers and students, has been very popular. Response to this personal contact from Loew-Cornell has been an outstanding networking connection for decorative painters. Learn more at loew-cornell@loew-cornell.com.

Supporting SDP.

Claire Nelson, VP of Marketing, advised that Delta will continue with their generous support of The Society of Decorative Painters, its affiliated chapters worldwide, and The Decorative Arts Collection and Museum. The company has done this through financial sponsorships, show classes, teacher product sampling, and seminar support. The Delta website brings projects, worksheets, and instructions to the decorative painter. Delta has also recently launched a new site called HOMEspirations where visitors will find inspired ideas for their home and life.

The 2003 Delta Design Challenge gave decorative painters of all levels an opportunity to show their talents. Winning entries are being honored in national advertising and instructions are available at a new Delta e-zine.

Painting for the Family is a new program aimed at bringing fun activities with paint to kids and young adults and helping them be successful. Hopefully from these types of encounters their interest will eventually grow into more traditional decorative painting techniques. The idea will be introduced by Delta at the 2004 SDP Conference in Phoenix. More detailed information on this as well as their planned 2004 Design Challenge will be available very soon. Visit www.deltacrafts.com and www.homespirations.com for additional information.

Painting for All.

Dana Conover, Director of Marketing for DecoArt, explained that the company believes its Decorative Painting for Everyone program launched in mid-2002 is a real success. Consequently, this year DecoArt will launch new suggested project samples supported with updated promotional materials. The updated program will include new painters' guides, teachers' kits, and project instructions. All of DecoArt’s 2,500+ Helping Artists will receive information on the new program features covering basic techniques for the beginner. The essence of the complete program is to introduce newcomers to decorative painting and can be found at www.decorativepaintingforeveryone.com.

Helping Teachers.

Daler-Rowney is planning to put more product into the teachers’ hands in 2004, according to Marketing Coordinator, Terry Eisenbrey. The company will have more consumer offers available, and the website is being updated to offer more techniques, friendly tips, and information on brushes and their uses. Find additional information at www.daler-rowney.com.

Ongoing Instruction.

A well planned program called Creative Possibilities is being introduced by Vicki Rhodes, Product Manager for Chroma Inc. Veteran Chroma teacher Betty Jo Evans has been instrumental in development of this new, three-year program. According to Vicki, each year consists of a 14-lesson curriculum that covers a thoroughly tested, no-fail, decorative painting method resulting in a classy and appealing look. The first part of the program consists of basic information, drawing lessons, and a Guided Palette System (GPS). A foundation is laid with a progression of skills introduced as the students paint a sampler on the cover of a sketchbook.

The ultimate aim of the program is to give newcomers the ability to create their own design, in their choice of colors, on their selected surface. Participants will be given all the tools needed to personally create their own expression of decorative painting. After introduction at the SDP Conference in June, plans are to take the program to painters in both Australia and Japan. More details are available at www.chromaonline.com.


This is just a sampling of the many programs and strategies manufacturers are planning to improve sales in education. Among the other items of note: Tara/Fredrix introduced a new line of canvas for watercolors ... Martin/F. Weber celebrated 10 years of association with Sue Scheewe with a reception in her honor ... Priscilla Hauser and Cutter Productions are working on plans for a PBS series ... A number of the paint companies have developed paint for scrapbookers to use on all sorts of paper.

All in all, the future looks brighter for decorative painting.

(Note: Shea is one of the most well-known (and well liked) decorative painting pros in the business. Contact her at sszachara@stny.rr.com To read previous Category Reports, click on the titles in the right-hand column.)



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